With Tannah Hirsch and Bob Jones

North-South vulnerable. West deals.

NORTH

S-10 4

H-K Q J 9 3

D-Q 7 5

C-Q J 2

WEST EAST

S-Void S-9 8 7 3 2

H-A 7 6 5 H-10

D-8 D-A 9 6 4 3

C-A 10 9 7 6 5 4 3 C-K 8

SOUTH

S-A K Q J 6 5

H-8 4 2

D-K J 10 2

C-Void

The bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

5C Pass Pass 5S

Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Eight of D

There is a large group of bridge players who believe that, should you be on lead against a suit contract and you hold a singleton, that's the lead. Experts would rather spend their leisure time in a dentist's chair than play bridge with a partner who ascribed to that belief, but it is widely held.

West was a true believer, and he led his singleton diamond. Despite two aces that he might have led instead and no trump in his hand with which to ruff a second round of diamonds, he led his singleton anyway. Luckily for West, he had a good partner. East won the lead and reasoned that South would not have come in at the five-level without a six-card suit, therefore, East would be unable to ruff the second diamond. He shifted to his singleton, the 10 of hearts. West won the ace and gave his partner a heart ruff to defeat the contract. Had East returned a diamond at trick two, the contract would have romped home.

A befuddled South said to West, "I would have made five spades if you led the ace of clubs. Why in the world did you lead your singleton when you were void in trumps?" "I always lead my singleton," said West. East then pointed out that the horrible break in trumps would have defeated the contract anyway had West led the ace of clubs. South felt much better. He was defeated by East's good play, not West's poor lead.

(Tannah Hirsch and Bob Jones welcome readers' responses sent in care of this newspaper or to Tribune Content Agency, LLC., 16650 Westgrove Dr., Suite 175, Addison, TX 75001. E-mail responses may be sent to tcaeditors@tribune.com.)

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